Summary: Community is crucial to the follower of Jesus. It is not optional.
1. Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in OKC. I was not a resident of OK 20 years ago but have heard stories and read accounts of the event. Many of you were impacted directly by the catastrophe.
2. This disaster reminds us of the power of community and the challenge we have in our personal walk with God and our Fellowship with others -- people of all occupations went to help 20 years ago;
"In evangelical individualism people think of their personal relationship with God in isolation ("Just me and Jesus") and forge their destiny apart from any church authority. While holding relatively low opinions of history, traditions, and the church, they turn to the experiences of self and isolate themselves from their brothers and sisters in the faith. True spirituality is perverted as it becomes a quest for inner stimulation rather than growth in biblical knowledge and the application of truth in community. Healthy Christians do not live in isolation." Michael G. Moriarty, The Perfect 10: The Blessings of Following God's Commandments in a Post Modern World, pp. 52-53
3. No "Lone Rangers"
a. Patriarchs and Jesus had communities
b. We are called to be community Acts 2.42-47
4. Some things I know:
I. We are all Part of Community
Slide -- Responders to the bombing/Rebecca Anderson, LPN from Midwest City, volunteered to help, was struck by debris and died a few days later, the only part of the recue team to die in attempt to help
A. We Are a Community of Faith
1. We live out our faith -- together
2. We live from common faith
a. My church (edah) -- Matthew 16.18
b. Living stones
3. Actions of one or a few affect all -- weep with those who weep
4. We learn to accept one another in the same way God accepts us
5. Strangers make sacrifices for strangers
B. Two Communities -- amphibians
1. Marshall Keeble -- If I miss 'em in Jesus, I get 'em in Adam
2. Our Community of Faith can Impact the Community at Large -- do good to all men, especially household of faith
II. Jesus is Aware -- Jesus Wept
Across the street from the bombed out Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, where 168 people died needlessly and senselessly, there stands a memorial. At the heart of that memorial is a nine foot statue of Jesus. But this statue is not one of a stony Jesus with arms out wide like you may have seen in the Ozarks or in Brazil. No, this is a nine foot statue of Jesus with his face in his hands, turned slightly away from where the acts of terror took place, and the plaque reads, "And Jesus Wept."
A. Jesus weeps at our losses -- John 11.35
B. Jesus weeps at our sins
2. Fire to kindle -- Luke 12.49-50
49 "I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!
III. We Know That Life is Uncertain
A. All hanging by a thread -- James 4.14
B. The Unexpected Can Happen at any Moment
1. Because of the uncertainty of Life -- If the LORD wills
2. Make the Most of Our Time -- Ephesians 5.16
a. Best accomplished in Community
Concert attendance has been slowly declining over the last 10 years, because people no longer want to go to concerts to get lost in a crowd.
But if you track another trend over the past 10 years you'll see concerts down but coffee houses are up.
About a year ago the State Journal ran a piece on coffee houses check out this quote, "I come here because I like an atmosphere of busyness, I don't like to feel like I'm alone."
IV. We Have a Time to Remember
[OKC Memorial Marathon; [Memorial
A. The Time
B. The People -- 168 PEOPLE; not a nameless mass; TV stations reading brief biographies of victims
1. Image of Go
2. Intimacy of God (hairs of your head)
C. Life (Survivor Tree) -- laChaim
It was a scrawny, solitary parking lot tree that somehow survived its roots being paved over when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building complex was completed in 1977. Sealing its roots off in concrete alone could have killed the tree, but it lived and shaded cars in the parking lot.
Then on April 19, 1995, the tree survived the explosion of a 4,000-pound bomb that ripped open a nine-story building, killing 168 people. Cars caught fire next to it and scorched the tree's south-facing trunk and branches.